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Some $21.85 million has been allocated in the 2012/13 Estimates of Expenditure for a project to strengthen civil society participation in local governance and establish a co-ordinated local civil society and state response to crime and violence.

During the fiscal year, ‘The Enhancing Civil Society Participation in Local Government for Community Safety’ project, funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), will see the development of local authorities and civil society organisations’ capacity to promote and secure participatory local governance.

In year one, support will be provided to build the capacity of parish councils and civil society through consultations and collaborations in all selected local authorities; public messages will be disseminated about the establishment of parish safety committees (PSC) in the selected local authorities; 75 per cent of the targeted parish councils and parish development committees will be trained in monitoring and evaluation of local initiatives; 75 per cent of parish safety committee members will be enrolled in urban violence online courses; and 75 per cent of parish safety members will be enrolled in safety audit training at the University of Technology.

Meanwhile, in the second year of the project, local authority level mechanisms will be developed under the Community Renewal Programme and the Crime Prevention and Community Safety Strategy. Specifically, parish safety committees will be fully established in targeted parishes; 75 per cent attendance of PSC members is to be maintained at meetings; parish safety plans are to be aligned with Vision 2030; and 75 per cent of PSC members are to be trained in the use of the parish safety plan template.

Up to March 2012, a number of achievements were realised under the project. These include: the completion of the terms of reference for the stakeholder committee; the establishment of a parish safety and security committee in the target parishes of Trelawny, St. Mary, Manchester, St. Catherine and Clarendon; and capacity assessment of parish development committees carried out, and scoping mission reviewed and analysed by the stakeholders committee.

Also, sensitisation workshops about emerging facilities to improve parish safety and security were carried out in the five target parishes; capacity assessment of the nine co-pilot parishes conducted, and participants sensitised about the project; and a report submitted on the assessment of the existing crime prevention committee.

                                                                       

By Alphea Saunders, JIS Senior Reporter